California Teen Driving Laws

California Teen Driving

California Teen Driving Laws

In California, at the age of 15 and 6 months teens are allowed to apply for a drivers permit. After 6 months of practice and a test, they can obtain a driver’s license. However, driver supervision should not stop, even if a license is granted. Teen drivers, especially those who have had their license for less than one year, are at a high risk of being involved in an auto accident. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), teen drivers are 3 times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than drivers who are 20 years of age or older. All states have teen driving laws in place in an attempt to reduce teen car accidents that result in injuries and deaths.

How California Teen Driving Laws Reduce Teen Car Accidents and Fatalities

The graduated licensing (GDL) system is composed of sets of enforced rules, which are unique to each state. We reference California teen driving laws, but to check the laws in your state, click here: State Laws.

  • Practice Hours: California teens are required to log 50 hours of supervised driving before applying for a license, and 10 of those hours should be allocated to night driving. This restriction reduces collision claims by 13 percent and fatal crashes by 3 percent according to the IIHS.
  • Passengers: Passengers, especially other teenagers, could serve as a distraction to a teen driver. The risk of an accident goes up with each passenger. In California, once a teen obtains their license they are not allowed to drive with passengers who are under the age of 20 for one year. This restriction reduces fatal crashes by 16 percent according to the IIHS.
  • Night Driving: Car accidents are more likely to happen at night for all age groups, but the risk is even higher for teenage drivers. California has a driving curfew in place for drivers within one year of receiving their license, which is from 11pm-5am. This restriction reduces collision claims by 1 percent and fatal crashes by 2 percent according to the IIHS.

Talk to Your Teens About Accidents

Being involved in an accident as a teenager and a new driver can be scary. Your teen may not know what to do after an accident. Inform teens that they should stay calm, and take down the driver’s information as well as vehicle information. The 1-800-THE-LAW2 free car accident app is a great tool that offers a step-by-step guide of what to do after an accident, and can be used right at the scene!

Tell your teens that they should not admit fault, experienced drivers may try to take advantage of their age by pushing them to admit fault. Pictures of the accident should be taken from different angles, this will help to recreate the accident for insurance adjusters.

Legal Help

If you know a teenage family member or friend who has been in a car accident, call 1-800-THE-LAW2. You will receive a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. They could get the driver compensation for medical bills, auto body shop bills, and other expenses. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2.


IIHS. Fatality Facts – Teenagers 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2015.

IIHS. State Laws – Teenagers. Retrieved April 15, 2015.

California DMV. Young Drivers. Retrieved April 15, 2015.